The autumnal equinox signalled not only the beginning of autumn but the end of the summer of hands. My right hand is now seven weeks post surgery and the left, 16. I’m beginning to be able to bear full weight on the left (imagine getting up from the ground and pushing off with your palm on the ground or doing a push up.) The right one is nine weeks behind that with almost full incision healing, no pillar pain, and the last vestiges of the tenosynovitis caused by the infection to clear up. I can do most tasks now with my hands but still need help with tough jar lids and the like. I even used trekking poles last week-something I haven’t done in years.
I’m grateful that I was both able to clear the infection well enough to continue with our trip and to not suffer some of the side effects that the antibiotic I was prescribed can rarely cause. I know I still have a few months of healing and strengthening left to go to truly get my hands to where I want them to be but it felt useful to celebrate the end of the summer. A summer where I didn’t do many of the the things I love to do in order to do them again/longer/without symptoms in the future. It was very sad to have to give up the climb in Mongolia to the infection but I’m still glad that both hands are now done and that we were able to have an awesome time in Ladakh.
We are in Kathmandu for two more nights and then we head to Bhutan for the very strenuous Snowman Trek. It’s been on the list for years and we’re pretty excited that it’s come to fruition. With so many weeks of the summer devoted to surgery and recovery, we weren’t able to do as much hiking and training as we would ordinarily do for climbs and treks. Fortunately for us, we’d planned a trek in Ladakh, India which provided the perfect “boot-camp”/intensive preparation we needed to get our feet/legs/minds ready for the challenges of the next month. We trekked in the Zanskar region of Ladakh and the terrain was stunning. We hadn’t looked too close at our itinerary before arriving noting only that “the first two days were downhill.” That was indeed true but the next five were very much uphill (and down) as we had to traverse six passes with a total elevation gain of almost 7000 metres and a distance of 135 or so kilometres. Two of the passes were over 5000 metres and we’re now enjoying the relative “thick” air of Kathmandu at 1300 metres. The sky was blue most days and underfoot, the trail ranged from almost highway to non existent scree fields. The views were stunning and we even saw K2 in the distance from our last pass (what a thrill!)
Different than our time in Ladakh (due to proximity to the border conflict zone), we will be able to send out audio and map updates from Bhutan so you can follow along more closely. We visited many, many monasteries in Mongolia and Ladakh and look forward to visiting dzongs and monasteries in Bhutan (and learning the different between them).
Thanks as always for coming along.